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I want a classic v-neck merino wool sweater that is not ridiculously tight or ridiculously loose, and most importantly is not incredibly cheaply made (generally in China). Few major stores make wool sweaters anymore; it's cotton or cashmere only. J Crew is sold out of their merino v-neck (besides being tight and pricey). Banana has one (for $60), but I got one just like this year's on clearance for $9 last year and that's about what it is worth - thin, pilled up after one wearing. I'd be willing to pay $60 for durable quality, but not for that. Maybe I need to go back to haunting ebay for vintage men's Pringle cashmere.

In other nonexistent things, I want 10 slim, adjustable waist, straight or bootcut pants (jeans, cords, whatever) NOT skinny, that are good quality and will last. Lands End has failed me entirely this year - skinny pants only for girls.

Basically, everything is so damn cheaply made these days. I hate it.
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Lands' End has screwed up the fit of their "tugless tankini" for girls this year - the bottoms are apparently so badly cut that they are skimpy in the front and baggy in the back, no matter what size one tries.  Why they messed with what must be one of their steady reliable top sellers, who knows, but thank god they enabled comments so I know not to order the suit for Casper for this summer.  Maybe the flood of returns and negative reviews will allow them to do something about it.

The problem becomes, what do I order instead.  Hanna Andersson's swimsuits are too little-girl print and they only make tanks and bikinis; Garnet Hill has some cute prints but everything has ruffles (excet the darling Patagonia suits, but a $55 swimsuit for my 7 year old is a no).  So I guess we're going with LLL Bean, but unfortunately their basic tankini only comes as a set - I was planning to get just bottoms and order a rash-guard top. Grrr.  Maybe I will brave our local sporting-goods store (which is about half guns and ammo) and see if there's anything there. 

I got some cool board shorts for Casper from Lands End last year that have a built-in swimsuit bottom but then are like surf shorts.  They were huge last year (despite being the same size as everything else I bought) but fit now, and she loves them.  Of course, they do not make these any more.
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I took yesterday off work and was in bed, mostly actually sleeping, until 3pm. Yes, I am honestly sick. I am at work today, though sneezing and coughing my fool head off.

I am feeling very behind at work and in life. Luckily I am working this coming Sunday, so I have 8 hours of sitting at a desk with nothing to do to get caught up, right? Must plan: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Girl Scouts, and write 10,000 blog posts for work.

In bad news news, mr. flea is really not going to get a permanent job at his current workplace. His contract ends next august, and he did not get an interview for the job that has been posted, and the other job that may get posted is also not a good fit for his skills and background. So far he has applied for a permanent job in Dublin and is working on an application for another post-doc at Georgia Tech, which would mean evil commuting, but would let us keep the kids in their current school and so forth. Our goal is no more post-docs unless they mean we don't have to move; permanent jobs okay if they mean moving. But damn, moving with kids is so disruptive to them. Never mind the whole home ownership problem. Worst-case scenario is unemployment as of next September; next-to-worst case scenario would be mr. flea in a post-doc someplace far away and me living here with the kids. That would suck. Let's not have that, please, okay?

In good news I bought both kids flame Vans via Zappos and they came yesterday and Dillo is so in love with his it's darling. He outgrew his flame chucks, and Casper's skully vans-style sneakers were literally falling apart. And I paid for them out of ebay sales, so I win at frugality.
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Here are the things stressing me out today:

-my hair (still not cut, not sure what I am doing about it; worrying about a new haircutter right before an event.)
-the weather in California this coming weekend. I expect San Francisco (which my fingers obdurately refuse to spell correctly every single time) to be mid-60s and foggy. But I thought Santa Cruz was in California! Yet they are predicting partly cloudy and high of 70 for this weekend. This is completely messing with my packing plans. It is hard to travel light when you are going someplace cold. (Yes, I am from Georgia. 70 degrees is now cold, in summer. Yes, mid-May is now summer. I am from Georgia.)
-Children's birthday parties for which we receive the invitation less than a week in advance. I knew about Thomas' birthday Friday, and we got a present last weekend. But then yesterday I got an email saying don't bring a present, bring a book for a book exchange. Argh. And yesterday an invitation to Eliza's party on Saturday morning appeared in our mailbox. When are we supposed to get her a present between now and Saturday morning? Advance notice, people!

I should be stressing about the conference paper I am giving in 2 weeks which I ahave not really begun to write. I have a meeting about it in an hour. It's just at the low simmer stress level right now though; my hair and possible sweater purchases are much, much worse.
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I bought Casper a Liberty of London sundress at Target just now. (Dillo got FLAME Converse, which I have coveted for a child of mine since before I had children.)

She told me in the dressing room that she thought she could get Ethan (her crush, not to be confused with Thomas, her boyfriend) to like her in this dress.

As we got into the car she asked mr. flea if she looked hot.
mr. flea: "You're a little too young for hot."
Casper: "How about sexy?"
me: "No, sexy is also for grownups."
Casper: "Darnit! Can I be cool?"
mr. flea: "Oh, you've got cool down."
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Casper's complaining she's got only two pairs of shoes that fit. Which is true. She has some Target sneakers with sparkles on the toes that were an Xmas gift and are size 2. She's got Lands' End mary jane trekkers from last summer that are a 1, I think. Maybe a 2.

How is this possible? A mere year ago she had no shoes and we bought her 2 pairs of sneakers right after Christmas. Both are now outgrown (one she barely wore, the other were worn out). We had shoe and fashion trauma like whoa over the summer.

She wants boots, I'm not sure what exactly, but I am pondering buying her some clearance boots in a 3 hoping they will still fit next year. Target still has some black fashion boots and Ugg knockoffs in the $20 range online. She could use another pair of sneakers - something in the punkier Keds, Converse, Vans universe. Unless I am lucky and catch a sale, these brands run $30-45 new!! And soon enough it will be summer. She needs and will get new flip-flops (thank you Old Navy for shoes I can afford). Will the Lands End still fit in 4 months? Doubtful. Should I spring for Keen sandals? Those at least have hand-me-down or resale value - assuming she doesn't wear them out AND outgrow them. She's hard on shoes.

In scouring ebay for boots in a size 3, I discovered that a girls' 3 is about the same as a women's 5. Yes, my 6 year old who stands 4'1" tall has feet nearly as big as some actual adult women. Heaven help her. I hope there are more styles available at sizes bigger than women's 10 than there used to be, because I am pretty sure that's where she's heading.
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I recently fell in love with some boots. Because I am the sort of person who always falls for the $$$ version of anything (seriously, when I was 13 my mother got me post-it notes that read "I have the simplest of tastes. I only want the best."), the boots I fell in love with are $332 Frye boots. These, to be specific. http://www.zappos.com/frye-veronica-slouch-cranberry?zlfid=111 Perhaps in saddle. (Side note: the people posting reviews mentioning that they've just bought their THIRD PAIR of $300 boots - I own a house and you don't, nyah nyah!)

On Sunday I had the bright idea that if I put $5 in an envelope every week, saved by the dint of not buying any vending machine candy or Jittery Joe's treats at work, I could buy myself the boots for Christmas 2010!

On Monday, I bought a $1 Three Musketeers. Just now I bought a $2.50 chocolate chip muffin. Sigh.

(ION, this week is TOO COMPLICATED. I want to call it off and come back next week.)
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Woo, exciting, I know!

Casper needs:
-Jeans, maybe 2 more pairs (retire the two pairs from last year which are both too small and have holes) - Old Navy/Target?
-a longer skirt - she has been liking those three-tier full ones in catalogs, should be able to find something similar cheap.
-leggings? She has 1 pair, black. (Target)
-tights? Need to check what still fits.
-new undershirts (old ones outgrown) I may spring for Petit Bateau because they are so lovely.
-a couple more long-sleeved shirts - I love a layered leaf print one at Hanna that went on sale today, they have great stripey/dot hoodies at LL Bean, and tie dye at Lands End (still loves tie dye)
-maybe a sweater? They have a cute swing cardigan at LL Bean.

She doesn't wear dresses much any more, but does wear her black velvet skirt and red tutu skirt with shorts under. I have a watch on a black velvet Hanna dress on ebay - she saw the black tutus they have now and wants one (also the hot pink and black tee and tights, natch.)

Dillo needs:
-More, and bigger, underpants.
-socks, socks, socks. He has like 3 pairs right now. (Old Navy)
-maybe another pair of shoes; he basically has crocs and sneakers right now.
-elastic-waist pants he can get up and down by himself. He has some, must count.
-long-sleeve Ts that are 3T and are not turtlenecks. Preferably not character-themed. (Preferably striped!)

He has a fair number of clothes, there's just a limited amount of stuff that I actually think is cool. Boy clothes are sadly boring. (Tea Collection and Hannas are the best, style-wise, IMO.)

Both kids have sweatshirts and lined raincoats, which can be combined if it gets cold. Neither has rain boots that fit at the moment.

Me:
-black tights. As usual.
-basic long-sleeve t-shirts, in white and/or off-white (J Crew?
-more cashmere!
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The clothing issue around camp has moved on to the shoes. (We haven't solved the clothing issue around clothes, per se - there are only three pairs of shorts/capris she will consent to wear right now, and she won't wear a skort or a dress to camp, but I do laundry on weekends and one load midweek anyway, and she doesn't mind wearing the same thing every other day, so we're coping.)

Here are the shoes my daughter owns:
1. New pink Stride Rite skimmer style sneakers. Bought a month ago by grandma. Make blisters if worn without socks. Are "embarrassing" to wear with socks. Worn today, with socks, in tears.
2. 3 year old Old Navy $1 flip flops that are too small. Naturally, these are her favorite shoes. These are the only shoes we have forbidden her to wear to camp; I want her to have more stability and foot protection, although in our daily argument about shoes she tells me that lots of other kids wear flip flops.
3. Black Keds sneakers bought in early spring that were her favorites and worn every day for the second half of the spring. Now are somehow horrible and "too small" (although the same size as her other shoes).
4. Navy crocs with no backs. She wore these without socks to camp yesterday and got blisters.
5. Multicolor crocs that have backs but are really too small (12-13 and she's a 1 now) and I should pull them and donate.
6. New Balance traditional athletic sneakers, bought new in January, rejected after a few wearings because she had trouble tying them. She wore them Wednesday to camp (without socks) and figured out how to tie them herself for the first time, but could not be persuaded to even think of them today.
7. Lands End Mary Jane trekkers which are purple and adorable and I kind of want a pair. Bought new this spring, with the intention of them being her default summer shoe. She wore them occasionally during the school year and now says she hates them.
8. Stride Rite black leather Mary Janes, bought for $5 on ebay, which is a good thing because she wore them once to school and will not consider them at all. I should resell these as there is no hope for them.

Eight pairs of shoes, all but two of them bought in the last six months, with her in on the choice. One pair that she will wear that doesn't cause blisters, and that's a pair of flip flops. Argh. Sigh.

So far, only one of her three bathing suits is "embarassing," and it's the rash guard one, and I am heartlessly making her wear it once a week when they have lengthy outdoor play in swimsuits at camp, to protect her skin.

ugh

Jun. 11th, 2009 09:07 am
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This morning with Casper was sort of reminiscent of the bad old two year old days of screaming fights over getting dressed. Or the bad old four year old days of the same (remember that time mr. flea had to drive Casper to school in her underpants?) She did not want to wear any of the choices she had (i.e. everything that was clean - I was not limiting her choices). She ended up going to camp in a YMCA t-shirt and plaid shorts that she likes but I agree are a little bit too small, and there were floods of tears and I had to basically leave her there crying, with no support from the stupid (male) counselors (and no help from Casper at pulling herself together).

We've had a lot of trouble with clothes this summer. Nothing is right. A couple of weeks ago I went through all her clothes with her and pulled out everything that didn't fit or she said she didn't like. (Including two brand new pairs of Gap Kids shorts that she picked out.) This left nearly nothing, with a special shortage on the bottom. This weekend she picked two new pairs of shorts at Old Navy and I told her that was it as far as me buying her new clothes this summer. But of course they are both in the laundry, and I refuse to do extra laundry simply because Casper can't frickin decide what she wants to wear.

I have no idea what the problem is, and while I'm somewhat sympathetic, I feel like we are offering her as much autonomy about clothing choices as is reasonable. She can wear anything she owns - even jeans even though it's 90 degrees - and at this point she has had input into the purchase of almost all the clothes she owns. I explained this morning about the laundry and the environment and the fact that doing laundry is work for me.

I think some of her social anxiety about the YMCA is getting focused onto the clothing issue. I just don't know what to do about it, beyond what we are already doing.
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I am listening to Pandora today. I am amused at the music I like but am a little ashamed to like (at this moment, Dave Matthews, Crash - which is perhaps improbably playing on my channel named Talking Heads).

We are invited to an informal reception for one of mr. flea's colleagues, who has married a woman named, get this, Charlotte Webb. !!! Mean parents!

I have been hankering to sew skirts and/or slips lately. I bought a simple skirt pattern on one of Sister's trips to Durham (possibly 2-3 years ago) and haven't opened it. I am also fascinated by the angry chicken 5-minute skirt pattern (http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2008/07/5-minute-skirt.html). I have two too-big skirts that could be adapted and cut down to cute knee-length skirts - one is immense (maternity and a much-gathered elastic waist, so lots of volume of fabric to work with). I'd love to make another from new fabric (POLKA DOTS, anyone) and also make some lovely half-slips in jewel-tone silk or fake silk.

Of course, my sewing machine is currently serving as our computer desk. Also, I have no time. And if I made time, and dug out the sewing machine, Dillo would be a Giant Pain In The Ass getting into my sewing supplies and wanting to help and stuff. (I know this because I remember clearly how Casper was a Giant Pain In The Ass when I was working on Dillo's baby quilt - the last thing I sewed - when she was almost exactly the age Dillo is now.)
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I am debating what to do about my hair. I kind of want to grow it out into a bob, but we are embarking on summer, a time of humidity and pouffiness and sweat. Growing out my hair now seems like a bad idea. But I am tired of having it super-short. Wouldn't it be nice if we were like those dolls that you can adjust their hair length at will?

I am testing Neutrogena's Build a Tan lotion product. A patch test on my thigh on Sunday produced no rash. Unfortunately it also did not produce any discernible tan. I did my whole legs this morning, so we will see.

I want to buy tons of summer clothes (J. Jill is having lovely blueberry and lavender colors, just right for me), but between house repairs and car repairs and tooth repairs I don't feel like I can splurge. I don't really need anything, so will try to hang on for the inevitable clearance sales.

Still desperately want a staycation. I worked solidly on the house between dinner and bedtime last night and made very little dent. So frustrating to have the sink empty and clean and by the next morning it's full of dishes again.
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most normal, originally uploaded by casperflea.

So, okay for wedding in May? (Yes, I am directing all my anxiety into what I will wear.) Even though the purple dress and purple shoes don't match? Since nobody wears hose any more, what do I do if it's cold? Is it ridiculous to consider buying a $72 Spanx slimming slip to wear under a $25 Target dress? Yes, I am bulgy about the middle.

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Last week Casper emerged from my closet dressed in my cream-colored polyester half-slip with my black Patagonia long underpants wrapped around it at the chest and announced that she was wearing this outfit to the wedding (my brother's, in New Hampshire, in late May).

After disabusing her of this notion I did own that we could look for a "silky dress" for her to wear to the wedding. So I'm looking, and not finding what I want. There are silk dresses (J. Crew's kids line) but these tend to be highly structured and rather more formal than what I think she wants. She wants the silky feel, not necessarily actual silk. I've looked at Gap Kids, Olive Juice, Mini Boden, Gymboree, and Etsy, and am well familiar with the options at Hanna Andersson, Lands End, and LL Bean, but nothing seems to suit. What I want is either something simply styled in washed silk (like those Waldorf School silk playscarves), or something simply styled in a silky jersey knit. I'd prefer actual silk or a silk-cotton knit blend, but am willing to settle for woven polyester or a cotton-poly jersey. But I can't find anything right. Ideas? Am I going to have to resort to asking my mother to sew something?

Also, a late May NH wedding is a bit of a dilemma, style-wise. It is in the afternoon and the principals will be in full rig - and all their 10,000 attendants. I can't remember what the weather is like in normal parts of the country in late May - for Casper will it be white tights and black patent shoes, or sandals? For me, oh dear, my dress shoes consist of purple suede Danskos (in May? It's before Memorial Day...), black Mary Janes that are 15 years old, or my wedding shoes. And I have nothing to wear on my body. I suppose I need to go dress shopping, too. I would actually like to own a dress, but do not have high hopes for finding anything off the rack due to longwaistedness. I'll probably settle for separates.
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Am I nuts for considering buying one of those swimsuits with a little skirt? Not because I am ashamed of my ass - I actually think I have a rather nice ass, although it is admittedly blinding white and somewhat cottage-cheesy - but because I hate shaving my bikini line, but can't bring myself to overcome societal prejudice and just go hairily forth.

So, are swimsuits with skirts always super-duper-dowdy, or could they be cute and charmingly retro or ironic?

I hate being female sometimes.
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I kind of am obligated to get a pair, right? Too bad there are no fun colors.

http://www.dansko.com/html/detail.aspx?type=2&shoe=Phoebe
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Friends, I am looking at a 4-hour desk shift this evening, with (likely) precious little to do during it (except worry that my husband is taking the children to the circus, again).

What is your favorite brand of oh-so-cute, possibly over-the-top, insanely-expensive children's clothes? I have been looking at Tea Collection and wishing the cute little dresses came in sizes larger than 5. I need to move on. Baby clothes are acceptable substitutes, but I'd prefer to browse ridiculous(ly cute) things my children (sizes 2t/3t and 6) might actually fit into.
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Note to self: attempt to avoid being in the hallways of your building when classes change. For the semi-crowd-phobic, it is rather terrifying. A sea of humanity.

Fashion notes from the Uggaversity:

Green seems to be in. Nike Tempo Track Running shorts (http://www.nike.com/index.jhtml?cp=USNS_KW_0611081618&l=nikestore,home&re=US&co=US&la=EN&ef_id=1778:3:s_
5bb224a0c3a314c6fd81c4019cd222a6_1677323620:rp9oD0o-JyoAAAlTaikAAAAa:20080818224211#l=
nikestore,grid,_pdp,cid-1/gid-104064/pid-89630,_grid,f-10001+12002+4294967255&re=US&co=US&la=EN) are definitely in - every other woman who wasn't dressed up was wearing them.

Girls are preppier than boys - very few boys with popped collars. I'd say the reverse was true at the Looniversity.

Sorority pledges (viewed en masse last week, several hundred) are heavily blonde (there were brunettes, but not in a proportion that Nature supports), heavily tanned (I saw no nonwhite pledges, and no white ones as pale as me), but surprisingly, came in a variety of shapes (i.e. not all stick-thin; nobody was seriously overweight, but there were plenty of thighs, some of which were certainly plus-sized). They universally wore above-the-knee dresses, mainly empire-waisted/babydolls, and flat shoes (lots of dressy-ish flip flops). Last year, I am told, it was all strapless. My question is, how do they KNOW? I mean, they have literally just arrived on campus!
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Yes, it's July 9 and hotter'n heck, but yesterday the opening salvo of the fall shopping season arrived, in the form of the Lands End backpacks and fall preview kids catalog. It was followed two hours later by an email from Hanna Andersson letting me know their first fall pieces were up and some were even on sale! I expect LL Bean to weigh in any day now.

So, I'm imaginary shopping for the kids, what I always do when the catalog season turns. Casper actually needs stuff for the fall, having outgrown a lot. We were sort of scraping the barrel on some items towards the end of the winter. And happily her birthday is 8/28, so fall clothes make a nice timely present.

She needs:
-tights, badly, I think only 1 pair still fits. HA are on sale for $14 for the plain ones and $22.50 for the patterned; LE are 3 for $25 and they have some cute stripes and horsie ones at that price.
-jeans; has none that fit. Question is to but girl cut or boy cut so Dillo can wear them later. I'm thinking girl, because she has tended to wear stuff pretty hard lately so there's no guarantee they'd make it to Dillo. LE has some nice plain flares and boot cuts with adjustable waist for $25.50.
-fleece, ideally zip-front with a hood. I can't find anything right at LE (no hoods) but American Apparel has some polka dot a striped fleece hoodies on their web site that might be a possible. If I can bring myself to buy from them, as the company founder is a sexist asshat (with whom I went to high school). Or look at LL Bean.
-backpack that her nice new $10 Target lunchbox will fit in. Either LE or LL Bean may do; LE has "junior" sizes (age 4-7) which would be nice, and nice colors like garnet and blackberry that she would like but would also pass on to Dillo. Not cheap, but sort of an investment - should last.
-other pants of some kind - I think she only has 3 pairs of fall pants that fit. Nothing is thrilling me on the cuteness/price index right now; Target may be a solution.
-for a present, I think I am going to get her this brown horsie skirt:
http://www.landsend.com/pp/AppliqueSkort~173147_1187.html?bcc=y&action=order_more&sku_0=::RIB&CM_MERCH=IDX_00004__0000000418&origin=index
-they also have some cute mid-calf striped leggings, to wear under skirts, that I may not be able to resist.
-assess state of basic black Mary janes - may need new for size/wear issues.

Already purchased:
-pink sparkly Keds, for her birthday
-Grandma has bought a red and white striped Hanna dress in a 120


Dillo's needs are less clear to me - he got a lot of 2T clothes at the end of the winter and I suspect they will still fit for at least the start of the fall. And there's at least some 3T in waiting from Casper. Also, boy clothes are just not so fun to shop for, let's face it.
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Please stop taunting me with your Big Big Sale. My kids really don't need more clothes. And I juts spent $120 yesterday, ordering Casper sparkly Keds for her birthday and me a slew of basic winter work clothes on clearance from J. Jill.

Wah!

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